NTSPP – 501 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 501

NTSPP – 501

A Puzzle by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Chalicea returns with a themed crossword perfectly pitched for the post-Saturday lunch ‘solve a crossword before going back into the lovely warm sunny garden’ period


1a Dog owner in charge? Planning and controlling how it’s done? (13)
MASTERMINDING An owner (of a dog perhaps) and a verb meaning in charge of or looking after

8a Smooth club (4)
IRON This old friend of the crossword solver is a double definition and gives us our first themed word


9a Execrable acts – it’s erotica gone berserk! (10)
ATROCITIES An anagram (gone berserk) of ITS EROTICA

10a Smoking murkiness circling pit endlessly (6)
FUMING Insert almost all (endlessly) of a pit into a hot, close, murky state of atmosphere

11a Curse former partner fleeing essentially with old banger (8)
EXECRATE The two-letter term for a former partner, the ‘essential’ letter of fleEing and an informal term for a decrepit car (old banger)

12a Set of stories, curiously gloomy about origins of yeomen, tenants and herdsman (9)
MYTHOLOGY An anagram (curiously) of GLOOMY about the ‘origins’ of Yeomen Tenants and Herdsmen

14a Good antique riches (4)
GOLD The abbreviation for good and a synonym for antique

15a Venomous creatures in the role of private secretary (4)
ASPS Another way of saying ‘in the role of’ followed by the abbreviation for Private Secretary

16a Weapons of regularly mean males engaged in crafty wiles (9)
ARMAMENTS The regular letters of MeAn and some males are inserted into (engaged in) some cunning crafty wiles

20a Slip out holding bits of lunch of thin slice of meat (8)
ESCALOPE Insert the first two ‘bits’ of Lunch and Of into a verb meaning to slip out or evade

21a Some utensil very often a term for cutlery (6)
SILVER Luring in some utenSIL VERy

23a One French pair with love finally gone, in middle of angry separation (10)
UNCOUPLING The French word for one, a synonym for pair without the E at the end (love ‘finally’ gone), IN (from the clue) and the middle letter of anGry

24a Guide by hand pencil’s coloured core (4)
LEAD Another double definition/part of the theme

25a Machines for calculating cost of damaged sightseers’ car (4,9)


1d Planet‘s luxury vehicle principally useful regaling Yankees (7)
MERCURY An abbreviated German luxury vehicle followed by the principal letters of Useful Regaling Yankees


2d Section of Egyptian Ismailia’s elevated desert area (5)
SINAI Found in reverse (elevated in a Down clue) in a section of EgyptIAN ISmailia

3d Support part of church backing gospel (7)
EVANGEL A reversal (backing) of a support (for a person or a table!) and part of a church

4d Lively kindergarten AGM producing material for canteen? (6,9)

5d Steal the Spanish coin (6)
NICKEL A slang word meaning to steal and the Spanish definite article

6d Mediate to lay to rest affectation (9)
INTERPOSE A verb meaning to lay to rest followed by an affectation

7d Formally acknowledged eager desire concerning Egypt (7)
GREETED Insert the IVR code for Egypt into some eager desire

13d Strangely honest gap in these plane figures (9)
HEPTAGONS An anagram (strangely) of HONEST GAP

15d Wenger mostly in charge? This might have dire results (7)
ARSENIC Almost all of the Christian name of Mr Wenger the football manager followed by the abbreviation for In Charge

17d Fixes air speed indications (7)
ASSIGNS The abbreviation for Air Speed followed by some indications

18d Ways to protect footwear with the object of taking up space (7)
TOECAPS A preposition with several definitions, one of which is ‘with the object of’ followed by a reversal (taking up in a Down clue) of SPACE

19d Policeman‘s coin (6)
COPPER A final double definition/theme-related clue

22d Feeling unwell in the French capital of Pas-de-Calais (5)
LILLE – ‘Feeling unwell’ inserted into the French definite article (I didn’t need to check this definition as I’ve been there!)


15 comments on “NTSPP – 501

  1. Can’t believe I’m the first to comment – I guess everyone’s been making the most of the fine weather to tidy the garden!
    Definitely a metallic ring to this one but I seem to recall BD saying that this would be ’round 2′ of the celebration of 500 NTSPPs.
    I think 9a gets my vote with 4&17d taking the lesser medals.

    Thanks for the puzzle, Chalicea – hope you’re enjoying life on the DT Toughie team!

  2. A fine puzzle, not too tricky but fun to solve. Surprised not to see Curium or Berkelium making an appearance too!
    Very enjoyable Chalicea, thank you

    PS Unfortunately not, Jane – installing wireless access points all day

    1. Well, I guess that’s one way to spend your day. I just plugged an Orange Brightbox into a plug socket in the hall cupboard and ‘Bob’s your uncle’!

      1. Thanks, LetterboxRoy.
        I had set myself the task of cluing thematic words that had a different meaning (like ‘Press golf club (4)’) with no reference to the thematic definition. That put rather a restriction on the available ones though obviously with the other Numpty who worked in CERN, Curium and Berkelium would prompt themselves.

  3. An enjoyable solve. Parsing 7d took us much longer than it should have. As we never see IVR plates on cars in NZ they tend to fool us every time they turn up in crosswords. Some rather complicated anagrams that were fun to sort.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  4. I thought this was good fun and a lot more accessible than this setters “fluffy”😉 Toughies.
    I wouldnt normally choose an anagram as a favourite but will have to go with 9a for the surface.
    Thanks for the Saturday evening entertainment Chalicea.

  5. Thanks to Chalicea for this great puzzle. 23 was my pick of the punch, but I also really liked 3, 15s (nice to see Mr Wenger get a mention) and 13.

  6. A nice relaxing end to the day, for a lapsed chemist, whilst watching the Last Night of the Proms after an “interesting” start which required surgery to a door frame to release me from a bathroom with a failed lock 😂
    Thank you to all involved as usual.

  7. Thank you for the review, CS. I thought I’d got the theme nailed OK but, following Chalicea’s comment about CERN, I worried that I’d perhaps missed a deeper meaning. Apparently not – unless it passed you by as well!

    1. I added up the periodic table numbers of the elements (404), and found that with Curium, it would add up to 500..?

      1. Really? I bow quite happily to your superior knowledge, smart boy! Now then, is that what Chalicea intended and – if not – will she be honest enough to admit it?!!

  8. What can one add except that I failed to spot the theme – not that it detracted from enjoyment of the crossword.

  9. LetterboxRoy, I would love to be able to claim that the 500 was my intention but that would be too dishonest. Many thanks, Crypticsue, as always your illustrations were fabulous. If only we could go out into that warm summer-evening garden. When this one appeared, we were sheltering from gales with 85 mph gusts on North Uist with all ferries cancelled. We had to get up at 5 this morning to catch the replacement ferry – lovely now, though on Loch Linnhe. Thanks to all you solvers.

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